By  on September 21, 2007

The annual HBA Health & Beauty America packaging show, held at New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center this week, revealed its new Fragrance Business Conference Program with educational seminars for marketers and brand managers.

"We were looking for ways to make the show more complete for conference delegates and show visitors, so we supplied them with more trend information and better content. The fragrance program is an example," said Jay Gorga, HBA's event director, who took over the HBA show a year ago from Jack Gonzales, who retired from the role. "We wanted to enliven the conference program with a number of different features, including a whole day program on the fragrance business and different sessions on naturals in the marketplace, new trends in personal care and regulatory issues."

In comparison with previous years, this year's attendance was up 11 percent in the first two days. Karen Grant, senior beauty industry analyst of The NPD Group, opened the conference on Monday with a retrospective on the state of the beauty industry.

Coproduced by GCI Magazine and HBA, the conference was divided up into a one-day marketing and strategies conference and a half-day symposium on fragrance consumer awareness.

According to Gorga, the fragrance conference was created to fill a need not only at the show but also in the marketplace.

"We realized there wasn't an event out there that addressed this aspect of the industry in such a comprehensive fashion, so we wanted to formulate a program and support it with exhibits on the show floor," said Gorga.

As the keynote speaker at the fragrance conference, Nicolas Mirzayantz, group president of fragrances for International Flavors & Fragrances, discussed the emotional power of scent and how it can reach into new industries.

"The marketplace is overcrowded with fragrances, but it's still rich in opportunity," said Mirzayantz. "If you look outside the beauty business, you'll see how other industries, such as the hotel and automobile, are starting to incorporate scent into their businesses."

As an example, Mirzayantz referred to Samsung, which infused its stores with a certain fragrance, hoping to enhance the customer experience.

"They wanted a scent that represented the brand, and as a result, the people in the stores would stay up to three times longer than they used to," said Mirzayantz.He encouraged the audience to find new ways to listen to consumers, pay greater attention to market segmentation and take more risks.

Mirzayantz said this sort of fragrance conference is needed in the market.

"For me, HBA is the core of most products, and to develop an event where people can share their new insights was very much needed," said Mirzayantz, who added that he was pleased to see the broad range of topics addressed by everyone from the well-established fragrance brands to the more niche players.

Other changes to the overall HBA show include a new matching system called Accumatch, which enables visitors to create a dialogue with exhibitors prior to the show, whether it's regarding packaging, a dispensing system or ingredients. Gorga also noted that the show has created a special area showcasing new products. This year, more than 150 products were included.

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